In recent years, many states have legalized use the of cannabidiol (CBD) in a variety of forms for recreational purposes. These states include California, Michigan, and Colorado. Other states are following their lead to legalize the use of CBD for medical reasons and with a doctor's prescription.
According to AARP, seniors have become interested in how CBD can help them with pain management and other medical ailments as "the compound from marijuana plants shows promise for age-related health problems." Here's a look at some of the most common reasons why seniors are using CBD.
For a senior with arthritis and nerve pain, clinical studies have shown the effectiveness of CBD at reducing their pain and discomfort. This level of pain relief is in line with commonly prescribed pain relievers, making CBD an alternative to prescription drugs that may have unwanted side effects. Of course, pain relief has long been considered a benefit of medical marijuana, and the first legalized uses of medical CBD was for pain relief and other chronic issues.
Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease that breakdowns the communication between the brain and the body. In this case, eyesight is the biggest loss. The loss of eyesight comes from a buildup of intraocular pressure (IoP) inside the eye. Some studies have shown that the use of CBD can reduce pressure by up to 25%.
On the downside, the amount of CBD required to affect the pressure comes with side effects that worry some doctors. But patients must weigh the other benefits, such as pain relief from glaucoma, that comes from cannabis use before making a decision about the best course of treatment.
One of the first benefits of the medical CBD was the use of it to stimulate the appetite of patients going through chemotherapy. As your loved one grows older, you may notice that they don't eat as much and begin to lose weight even when they don't need to lose it. This can lead to muscle loss and a general weakening of their body. Many studies have shown that marijuana increases the appetite of users, including seniors, and new studies show that CBD offers the same benefits, which can help your senior loved one eat and retain muscle mass.
Alternative to Prescription Drugs
You only have to look in your senior loved one's medicine cabinet to know that the amount of prescription drugs seniors need to take is on the rise. These drugs have side effects and some of them can be dangerous or make your loved one feel even worse. On the other hand, CBD can help with many of the conditions as prescription drugs without all the severe side effects. Cannabis also doesn't have the same addictive properties of some of the prescription drug that your loved one is currently taking.
More than 53 million Americans, aged 50 years old and older, suffer from bone loss and osteoporosis, making them more likely to break a bone than others. Researchers have discovered a receptor that activates and blocks the growth of bone. Recent studies have shown that cannabis can help the healing of a fractured bone due to bone loss. Also, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that can help seniors who suffer from multiple sclerosis.
As you age, it can become harder to sleep deeply and for extended periods of time. You may have noticed that your senior loved one seems to get up earlier and earlier every time you see them. A solid sleep schedule is essential for good health. During REM sleep, your brain regenerates and you wake up feeling refreshed. Your senior may not be getting enough sleep or enough the right kinds of sleep. They may also have insomnia. CBD can help extend the time of deep sleep and shorten the time you spend in light sleep so that you're getting the necessary benefits of a good night's sleep, and unlike other sleeping aids, CBD isn't addictive.
Alzheimer's & Dementia
Excitement is building over the possibility that cannabis might have an effect or even halt the stages of Alzheimer's and dementia. A 2017 study at California's Salk Institute found that cannabis removes the dementia cells from an affected brain. CBD helps patients with these diseases in 3 ways:
- Reducing the amount of inflammation
- Acting as a brain stimulant
- Decreasing oxygen buildup in the brain tissue
Soothing & Energetic Effects
CBD can have a soothing effect on seniors and help calm their nerves and anxiety, but also helps them feel more energetic and combats the need to become inert. It's believed that CBD can strengthen the cells in the body and promote regeneration of damaged or deteriorating cells due to age.
Seniors should discuss the use of CBD with their doctor. Recent studies have found real benefits from the use of CBD, but questions still remain, making it extremely important to discuss all options and potential side effects with a medical professional.